I have two systems setup with Ubuntu and Windows XP with a KVM switch; I have also tried dual boot in the past. These configurations definitely gave me the advantage of both worlds, but I wanted to run Linux and Windows on the same system without any KVM or dual boot. Recently, Parallels was giving out a free license for Parallels Workstation 2.2 so I thought of giving it a try. The irony was that I ended up using Vmware. Here is a short summary of what happened.

I installed Parallels Workstation 2.2 and started to create a VM. The process of creating a VM is very intuitive and I decided to use a typical install.(See this in case you need an idea of the process) I used an empty partition from my XP. When I tried to install Ubuntu on it, it asked me if I wanted to install it on the 31 GB drive. As far as I remembered I had the partition for 13 GB. Fearing that I would screw up my MBR (I have done that before), I quit. Later I realized that the typical install of Parallels created a 32000 MB expanding hard disk and thats the reason it showed me a partition of ~31GB. I created a new VM with higher RAM and lower hard drive space. Now when I tried to install Ubuntu 8.04 it showed me an error in the installation (an odd image with 1’s). When I tried to install Ubuntu 7.04 it froze after sometime during the installation. Surfing through the net I found that other users have come across the same problem and it seems that allocation of higher RAM creates a problem. So, the third time I created a typical install again but changed the hard drive space after the VM was created. So far so good. I had a CD for Ubuntu and 7.04 and I went for the install. Parallels install notes mentions that they support 7.04 and 7.10; I was hoping to upgrade to higher versions once I got 7.04 installed. The installation was smooth. Upgrade was where the problem came. The 7.04 has reached the End Of Life and so I kept getting “could not find the release notes” when I tried to upgrade. I changed the sources.list file (see here) and upgraded to 7.10. Upgrading to 8.10 was another problem. Each time I upgraded, the network would get disabled. This writeup helped me solve the problem. After upgrading to 8.10 I hit a major roadblock. Network failed; could not upgrade anymore; I gave up. This was enough for me with Parallels.

Having spent so much time to try out getting a VM, I decided to give VmWare a try too. I downloaded the VmWare server and installed it. Much to my dissapointment, it installed VmWare webacess and server on my machine and I couldn’t access the webaccess anyways. I was expecting a shortcut that would fire a tool that would help me create a VM. I looked at the website and saw at the range of their products. Now I wasn’t sure if it was VmWare Server that I needed or was it the Workstation and the Player. Finally, I figured it out. The server was not started on my box. I used Administrative Services to fire the service and access the VmWare Server Webacees. The webaccess provides the dashboard to create and manage VMs. Having spent time on Parallels, the process was quite simple. The problem was that Ubuntu wouldn’t start up from the live cd. I realized that I had to add remote tools on the VmWare server in order to proceed. Rest was easy. I now have Ubuntu 8.10 on my Windows XP. To get the network connection working, put the network type as NAT instead of ‘Bridged Network’ in the Network Adapter configuration of your VM. Here is a summary of how to get the sound working. Important: To make things work, you will need to add a password to the account on your host (Windows) that has the guest(Ubuntu). Somehow, an account with no password gives problems in getting to the VmWare webaccess.
What next? Will try to upgrade Ubuntu to Jaunty.


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